Printer ink, one of the most expensive liquids on the planet…Just under scorpion and cobra venom.

By Richard Metting

July 14, 2015

Ok, I admit printer ink doesn’t cost as much as scorpion venom which sells for about $39,000,000 a gallon, or cobra venom which sells for about $153,000 a gallon but it still burns holes through our pockets.

It has been said that black printer ink for ink jet printers is the 7th most expensive liquid on the planet being sold at an average of $2,700- $5,500 per gallon. This makes it one of the most expensive liquids on the planet that is sold that doesn’t require anyone risking their lives (such as milking a scorpion or a king cobra).


Why is name brand ink so expensive?


The answer is simple. Manufacturers sell printers at a loss and recoup those losses through the sale of the ink over the lifetime of the printer. This business model is very common among many companies we interact with on a daily basis. Gillette razor has been using this business structure for years, where they make their profits not on the initial purchase, but with the repeated purchases of replacement razors. Polaroid cameras also used this strategy when selling their cameras and film. It is also no different than when your cell phone company offers to give you a $500 phone for “free” and locks you into a 2 year service contract.


OEM Vs. Generic Ink

It’s no wonder companies such as CARTRIDGE WORLD and 123 INKJETS are doing so well selling off brand (generic) ink for cheaper prices. We all hate spending extra money on things that are unnecessary, but unfortunately these generic print cartridges do not work as well as the name brand cartridges in the printer. Sometimes they give false readings on how much ink is left in the cartridge, causing you to purchase ink prematurely.

Even worse these canisters of ink can cause the ink head to clog up, turning your printer into a heavy paper weight, causing your printer to spit out only blank white sheets of paper. Ink heads can very often cost as much as purchasing a new printer, so all that money you thought you “saved” by purchasing generic ink now has to be used to by a new ink head or worse… a new printer!

Although generic brands appear cheaper, I cannot emphasize enough that when given the choice, it is much more economical to purchase genuine name brand ink.